Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NH Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension and Blue Ocean Society Take Steps to Reduce Marine Debris

The NH Sea Grant and Blue Ocean Society have joined together to create the Marine Debris to Energy Project in an effort to reduce the amount of debris that is either thrown away as waste or ends up in the marine environment. One of the debris materials that the project is focusing on is monofilament fishing line. Fishing line takes up to 600 years to decompose and can have many negative impacts on a variety of marine wildlife when improperly disposed of in the environment. Hundreds of fish, birds and even land animals are harmed every year due to entanglement. When wildlife become entangled in or ingest monofilament, it can result can be the loss of the animal’s flippers, tails, or wings and can cause drowning, starvation, and death. Boat propellers can even get entangled in discarded monofilament line, causing costly repairs for boat owners.

To effectively address the issue of monofilament fishing line, NH Sea Grant and the Blue Ocean have directed efforts on collaborating with charter fishing companies, marinas, and bait and tackle shops in Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and Hampton. These businesses have been asked to participate by allowing collection bins to be placed at marinas, shops, or directly on fishing vessels. Any excess or used monofilament fishing line can be thrown into the collection bins rather than being tossed in the trash or left at risk of entering the environment. When the collection bins have been filled they are picked up by organization staff members so that the monofilament fishing line can be recycled. The project is cost free to anyone who chooses to participate. If you would like to learn more information about the project please visit the NH Marine Debris to Energy Project website: http://cecf1.unh.edu/debris/.

In addition to the project created by NH Sea Grant and the Blue Ocean Society, another program, the Stow It – Don’t Throw It Project has been created by Sean Russell. This project works with youth to create and distribute personal-sized monofilament fishing line recycling bins as a way to reduce marine debris. More information on the Stow It – Don’t Throw It Project can be found at http://www.stowitdontthrowitproject.org/index.html.

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